28th October 1789
Reference Numbert17891028-72

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813. JANE, the wife of BENJAMIN ELLEY , was indicted for stealing, on the 23d day of September last, nine yards and three quarters of sprigged muslin, value 10 s. the property of Timothy Fisher .

(The witnesses examined separate.)


I live with Mr. Fisher, a linen draper, at Holborn Bridge; on the 23d of September the prisoner came into the shop, about six in the evening, to look at some sprigged muslin; I shewed her several pieces one of which she fixed on, another that laid handy she swept off the counter with her elbow, she stood over that piece, and desired me to cut off a quarter of a yard of the other; while that was cutting off, with the heel of her shoe she drew the other under her petticoat.

Court. Was it a pretty large piece? - Nine yards and three quarters; I saw all this doing; she then desired me to cut off a nail of plain muslin; the things came to two shillings and two-pence; she put her hand into her pocket for the money, at the same time I saw her lift the muslin higher up, under her stays; I suffered her to go out of the shop, and I followed her close; I stopped her, and desired her to come back, and asked her for the muslin she had concealed; when she came to the middle of the shop she seemed surprized, and denied it, and at the same time let the muslin

fall; as she dropped it she endeavoured to step from it, but the heel of her shoe hung in it, and she made a stumble; she still contined to deny it; I delivered her to the constable: the muslin is here; I am sure of the prisoner.

Prisoner's Counsel. You was standing on one side the counter, I take it for granted, and she on the other? - We were.

Because you seem to say you saw the whole process? - I saw her sweep it off the counter.

Were there other persons in the shop? - There were three or four other persons in the shop.

How many might there be? - I cannot say.

Your shop was full of customers? - No, it was not full.

Perhaps in this very place there were other customers? - No, not one near me at the same counter.

You did not desire her to pick it up? - No, I did not; I let her sweep it off the counter, and do what she would with it, to see whether she was a thief or not.

All this seems to me to be almost impossible? - It may seem so to you, but it is true.


I produce this muslin; I received it from the Alderman, at the examination.

(Deposed to by the private mark, B. R.)

Richard Pinnix. It was marked by myself.

Prisoner. I leave it to my counsel; I did not expect to be tried till two o'clock; when I went into this shop, I went with an intent to buy; the gentleman pulled me about sadly, and he put his hands down my bosom, and I thought it was a very indecent action; he asked me where I lived; I told him; and he went and enquired of my character; and he said to me, are you a married woman? I said, yes; says he, it is a pity you have a big belly; I said, it is no matter, I have a good father for it; says he, I wish I was the father of it; and what he has said against me, is as false as God is true.


Transported for seven years .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. Baron HOTHAM .

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